A Canadian judge on Wednesday accepted a request from a Huawei executive to postpone the last phase of extradition hearings to the United States until August, so that she could study new documents that she believes could exonerate her.
The hearings, which were to begin April 26 and last for three weeks, will resume “around August 3,” said Justice Heather Holmes of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The magistrate indicated that she would justify her decision later.
Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou, whom the United States wants to try for bank fraud, made the adjournment request on Monday after a court ruling authorizing HSBC bank to send them new documents.
Their client, financial director of the Chinese telecoms giant, was arrested in Vancouver at the end of 2018 at the request of the United States.
The American justice accuses him of having lied to an executive of the HSBC bank, during a meeting in Hong Kong in 2013, on the links between the Chinese group and a subsidiary which sold equipment to Iran, exposing the establishment of US sanctions.
On Monday, Ms. Meng’s defense pleaded that it needed more time to study these new documents that the Hong Kong courts allowed HSBC to release.
These documents could, according to the lawyers, show that the United States deliberately “deceived” Canada about the fraud allegations against its client.
“This postponement is necessary to ensure fundamental fairness,” said Richard Peck, one of Ms. Meng’s lawyers.
The Canadian public prosecutor had asked the judge to reject this “unreasonable” request.
“This is the latest attempt to turn this procedure into a criminal trial that should be held” in the United States, said the prosecution in a document released Monday at the hearing. “It is based on unconfirmed allegations (…) firmly contested by the prosecution.”
Huawei announced on April 12 that it had reached an agreement with HSBC bank in Hong Kong to obtain new documents in the case, after having suffered a failure in a similar request in a court in London last February.
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver airport, followed a few days later in China by that of two Canadians accused of espionage and recently tried, sparked a serious diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.